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Five Ways to Encourage Branded Search Queries

18 July 2011 BY

Incentivising people to search for your brand is more important than it ever has been. With personalised and social search growing in importance and prominence, the question that seems to be in the mind of a lot of online marketers is ‘how can we benefit from personalised or social search?

The answer of course is to encourage more branded search traffic to make more searcher’s browsing history ‘biased’ towards results from your domain (Here’s a more in-depth explanation of how personalised search works by SEOmoz).

So how can you encourage more people to search for your brand? For those of you in a hurry, Dan Barker nailed this one on the head (Thanks Dan! ☺)

While it’s very true that bigger brands get more branded search traffic than smaller brands, it’s more the things that big brands do that provide a large proportion of their branded search traffic, and those things can potentially be replicated by brands of all sizes. Here are a few of the replicable things that I think drive a large proportion of many brand’s branded search volumes.

#1 Appear prominently on head of tail and comparison terms in search results
If someone is searching for ‘compare mobile phones’ or just ‘mobile phones’ and your phone brand appears most prominently in the PPC and/or organic listings and within the content of the listings, people are like to then refine their search by searching for your brand.

#2 Be awesome at what you do and encourage return visitor loyalty
I probably search for my favourite blogs by their ‘brand name’ two or three times a week in Google (my phone makes bookmarking sites impossible!). Brands who have a great product or consistently deliver excellent information will naturally gain a significant amount of branded search queries from loyal return visitors.

Another way of doing this is to actually encourage the loyalty with loyalty schemes. In the same way that coffee chains give you loyalty cards to keep coming back, give your visitors some form of loyalty scheme to keep coming back – chances are they might come back via a search for your brand.

A good way of measuring this is to look at your analytics returning visitors who reached the site via branded search. I looked into this for my personal site, and found that return visitors represented 28.4% of traffic, and of that, 2.5% of return visitors reached the website via branded search terms.

#3 Run offline ads with a ‘search for us’ call to action
A few years back Rand posted about Pontiac’s Superbowl ad where their call to action was ‘search for us on Google’ – this is sn incredibly effective way of driving branded traffic if you own the SERPs. Remember, you don’t need to sponsor a superbowl ad to do this – you could, for example, add ‘ search for us on Google’ to your business cards rather than a URL.

#4 Run branded events
Whether it’s Reading Festival, a conference, or just a gathering of a few friends set up on meetup.com, events tend to get a lot of branded search traffic very easily because people have to go online for event details – such as tickets, directions, agendas, and much more. If you start running branded events and hosting the details on your site, you can have a significant impact on increasing your branded search traffic.

#5 Create word of mouth & viral campaigns
When a brand starts trending on Twitter, people start searching for it in Google to find out the latest updates. When people are intrigued by word of mouth campaigns or latest rumours they start searching for ways to satisfy their curiosity; Google being the first port of call for most people. Think about what happens when Apple launches a new product, or when Google launch a social network – people start searching to satisfy their curiosity, often by the product or brand name.

AUTHORED BY:
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Marcus Taylor is the founder of Venture Harbour, a company that specialises in digital marketing for the music, film, and game industries.
  • marie

    Interesting post Marcus although I’m not sure I necessarily agree with your point #3 “Run offline ads with a ‘search for us’ call to action”. To me, however much you dominate the SERPs, this is a risky strategy. 1, because SERPs are never consistent and most importantly 2, because competitors can easily ramp up their PPC spend on your brand name (and variations of). It makes me cringe when I see brands do this
    A few years back Rand posted about Pontiac’s Superbowl ad where their call to action was ‘search for us on Google’ – this is sn incredibly effective way of driving branded traffic if you own the SERPs. Remember, you don’t need to sponsor a superbowl ad to do this – you could, for example, add ‘ search for us on Google’ to your business cards rather than a URL.

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